AG experts watching invasive insect’s trek in Pa., inching closer to Ohio

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The spotted lanternfly has made its way through Pennsylvania

(WKBN) – As if 2020 couldn’t get more stressful, there’s one more thing everyone needs to look out for. It’s a bug that came over to the U.S. from China.

The Spotted Lanternfly has made its way through Pennsylvania. In 2019, it was discovered in mostly the southeastern portion of the state, now it’s made its way to Beaver County.

Beaver County was added to a quarantine list in 2020 and a portion of the eastern part of the county is considered infested.

The bug is an ecological threat and is invasive, destroying crops and impacting forestry.

“Mostly we are worried right now about our vineyards. A lot of our wineries depend on those vineyards to make the wine. That’s the number one host that is really going to have a lot of damage and have a lot of management strategies to look for,” said Eric Barrett, educator at OSU Mahoning County Extension.

The bug goes through seven different life cycles. During this time of year, experts are looking for small bugs. Either a small black bug or a slightly bigger one that’s red with white spots.

Experts say they have strong back legs but it’s not going to be long until they see a major change.

“As we get into the next few weeks, we start into August, we will be seeing those more adult-size insects. That kind of same shape but now they have wings, and the wings are distinctively red,” said Eric Barrett, educator at OSU Mahoning County Extension.

Barrett says they develop near plants like the Tree of Heaven, which is a tree that grows near railroad tracks or roads.

During a large portion of the year, the bugs can lay eggs on different surfaces, including cars. The eggs are gray and a shiny looking egg mass.

The USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture are treating locations where the Spotted Lanternfly has been reported and pathways to other areas.

Quarantine zones have been set up in Pennsylvania and business are helping by pest management in their vegetation.

Pest management by businesses also will help control the spread.

A “Look Before You Leave” initiative is also being supported where anyone can check their vehicles, trailers or any outdoor items before moving in or out of a quarantine area.

If possible, try to park away from tree lines and keep windows rolled up.

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